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Think about what are you going to say and how are you going to say it. Without proper preparation, you may find that you do not feedback all pertinent points and are unable to support any claims that you make about the learner.
Identify behaviour that needs to be changed within the person and provide observed examples of this. Do not use generalisations e.g. your report writing is terrible. Good feedback is very specific and a description of what occurred. Feedback must be unbiased and a true reflection of what occurred.
Stick to the facts and avoid using your own interpretation. E.g. Instead of saying “you are very slow” consider “you managed to assess one patient this morning; however , we do expect you to assess at least two patients”. Be clear about the criteria used to judge their performance against.
Students have found praise to be rare at times but fault-finding to be a more common form of feedback. Praise is a powerful motivator. You may need to look at the flip side of some situations. Eg., “although you did take some time to complete your assessment, it was very accurate”.
Describe exactly what impact their actions have had. What was this impact and who did it affect? It is important to include feedback on attitudes and caring behaviours also.
Give feedback as close to the event as possible while it is fresh in your/their mind. This allows you to discuss single issues rather than a list of stored up events and to highlight good practice as it occurs. Use the ‘5 minute rule’ , finding 5 minutes each time you work with the learner to feedback.
Consider the need to privacy and ensure you will not be disturbed, as feedback can evoke an emotional response. Remember that providing feedback on aspects of performance at the end of placement will not give the learner sufficient time to adjust practice.
Don’t be tempted to point out all the learner’s faults in one go. This can be overwhelming. Instead limit your discussion to one or two important points. Students with low self-esteem can interpret critical feedback more negatively than others and take them personally.
Be receptive to what the learner is saying, even if you do not like it. Beware of your body language and give the learner all of your attention. Withhold any judgement and evaluation until they have finished speaking.
Make sure the learner understands your feedback, if not they will not be able to act on it. Check their understanding by asking them to summarise what you have said. Ask the learner for suggestions as to how the points raised can be addressed.
Identify what needs to happen next for any improvement to occur. Action plans or learning contracts can be useful tools for achieving this. Plan a review date, but make sure this is realistic for the learner.